There was no easing into the show on Tuesday. Starting with the opening riff of the night, the pedal was slammed to the floor, and everyone inside The Fillmore Silver Spring was along for the fast ride of guitar-driven, hard rock with rock ‘n’ roll icon Slash.
Slash hit the stage with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, touring in support of their new album, Living the Dream. With three albums together as a group, Slash has managed to do what many others from his era have not, touring confidently with his collaborators as a band all their own, and not living off of his past legacy of greatness.
With an enormous ovation following “You’re a Lie,” the band’s hit song from it’s 2012 album, Apocalyptic Love, it was abundantly clear that the crowd was not there to see a throwback show from Slash’s time with Guns N’ Roses. Instead, everyone was truly there to watch the greatness of a band producing hard rock done right. The current single, “Driving Rain,” inspired many in the crowd to sing along despite the fact that the new album was released just two weeks ago.
Slash has used his music and celebrity status to promote animal welfare programs, specifically those benefiting elephants. The song “Beneath a Savage Sun” has grooves much heavier than most of their other tracks, along with its lyrics about elephant poaching and ivory trade, and the performance done beneath harsh red and yellow stage lighting made the number a standout of the night.
Following the departure of Scott Weiland from Velvet Revolver, Slash published a self-titled solo record using different singers on each track. Slash with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators performed quite a few of those songs, including “Ghost,” “The Sword,” and “Back from Cali.” In advance of “Starlight,” one of the two songs Myles Kennedy sang on that record, Myles told the crowd, “This is the song that started it all.” Until that point, he and Slash had never worked together — and now, eight years later, their band is still going strong.
Listen to Living the Dream by Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators on Bandcamp:
What was so unique about watching Myles Kennedy and Slash on stage together is their seemingly opposite personalities. Dressed in a black shirt, black leather pants, black sunglasses, and of course his signature black top hat and mop of black curly hair, Slash remained stoic in his demeanor, and outside of a few small jumps from time to time, rarely showed much emotion on stage. Myles, on the other hand, appeared to be the most genuinely happy frontman on any stage, with an ear-to-ear grin leaving his face only to sing with a voice that soared beyond the confines of any club.
It would be a disservice not to mention the Conspirators. A bass, drum, and rhythm guitar trio who are so tight, the backbone of every song allowed their two more famous bandmates to show off. Bassist Todd Kerns even got a moment to take center stage and sing when the band went into the song “Dr. Alibi,” a tune originally fronted by the legendary Lemmy, late of Motörhead.
But the star of the show was the man whose name is at the top of the billboard, Slash. While he got his moment to shine during each song, it wasn’t until the 12th song of the night, “Wicked Stone”, that Slash finally gave everyone what they came to see — an extended guitar solo. And that was just a precursor to what was to come.
When the band reached the guitar solo portion of “Rocket Queen,” the only Guns N’ Roses song of the night, the other band members slid to the back of the stage, the lights dimmed to a dark blue, and Slash was hit with a spotlight. Then, he took control of the song with a 10-minute solo.
With Slash customarily playing on large stages in massive stadiums and arenas, it is a real delight to witness his greatness in an intimate venue. The ability to see the artistry, speed, and execution of Slash performing a guitar solo up close is an amazing sight to behold, and a memory that everyone who left The Fillmore Silver Spring on Tuesday will remember for years to come.
Here are some pictures of Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Oct. 2, 2018. All photos copyright and courtesy of Chris Smyth with some rights reserved to Slash.